Yates defies expectations again to take second on the penultimate stage in CaliforniaFri 18 May 2018
A brutal and decisive sixth stage of the Amgen Tour of California unfolded across the Sierra’s to South Lake Tahoe with Adam Yates producing a strong display on the last two climbs to take second place whilst remaining in fourth overall with one more day to go.
Only weeks after fracturing his pelvis Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Adam Yates again impressed on the climbs of California, pacing himself as the elite favourites group broke down on the first category Daggett Summit before attacking into the finale to take second place.
The Queen Stage was won by Egan Bernal (Team-Sky) who moves into the race lead with Yates only two seconds off an overall podium spot in fourth with a flat, final stage coming up in Sacramento tomorrow.
The toughest stage of this year’s race covered seven categorised climbs over 196kilometres from Folsom to South Lake Tahoe and it didn’t take long for the attacks to spring with nine riders up the road in the first hour and gaining over five minutes on the bunch.
Past the halfway point and the relentless climbs started to take their toll as the break started to lose time on the reducing peloton and the GC favourites began to move up to the front.
Carrying less than a minute into the closing 40kilometres and Sky setting a furious pace at the head of the peloton, the leaders were caught on the first category Dagget Summit with the race exploding into life.
Kiwi Jack Bauer paced Yates onto the climb and pulled off as the ramps steepened, leaving the Briton with a group of favourites that included Bernal and Tao Geoghegan Hart of team-Sky and yellow jersey Tejay Van Garderen (BMC-Racing-Team).
It didn’t take long for the obvious one-two attack to come from Sky and when it came two as Bernal who went clear, holding his advantage to the line with Yates attacking out of the final two kilometres to take second.
Adam Yates – Second:
“It was a pretty tough stage today, there was a lot of climbs and it’s not so easy not even for the climbers. We knew the situation going into the stage and we knew that Team-Sky were going to set a tough pace onto the final climb because they needed to attack Tejay and try to gain some time.”
“It all came to life on the last climb and Sky did exactly as expected and it was tough, especially at the altitude, which makes it more difficult and it came down to every man for themselves.
“We were up in Tahoe for a couple of weeks of training prior to the race and that definitely helped because we did a solid recon of the final climb and I knew what to expect.”
Sport director Matt Wilson:
“Adam got better and better as the two final climbs went on and after being up here training beforehand he knew them well, but no-one was going to catch Bernal today and we were racing for a podium place in the end.”
“He rode his own pace into the final and timed it really well and after trying to crack Martinez he just missed out by a couple of seconds in the end. We have on more chance to try and get that stage win with Caleb in Sacramento tomorrow and we’ll be doing everything we can to deliver him in a good position to contest the sprint.”
Tour of California stage six results:
1. Egan Bernal (Team-Sky) 05:30:58
2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:28
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team-Sky) +1:30
General classification after stage six:
1. Egan Bernal (Team-Sky) 22:26:40
2. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC-Racing-Team) +1:25
3. Daniel Martinez (EF-Drapac-Cannondale) +2:14
4. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:16
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.